In a first for fantastic Forster, on the past, last and glorious beach type June Saturday, a few flannelled fools made the best of it playing cricket.
Yes, as wacky as it would seem to many, instead of soaking up the rays on the nearby sands, two teams of beyond, or nearing, fifty year old cricketers, with a couple of younger ring-ins, threw back the ages on the luxurious greenery of Lake Street’s synthetic cricket pitch.
The Tamworth over 50s squad, thrilled to be over the range and free of the dry and cold of their locales, took on a motley crew of Forster, Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Taree tragics.
The game was played as a social promotion of veterans’ cricket, one of the fastest growing realms of Australia’s sporting landscape, and proved as wonderful as it was wacky to be playing in June.
The visitors lost the toss due to Forster’s skipper saying so and the battle was on.
Local lad and Dolphin Rugby identity, John Kessey wound back the clock with a magic spell of “back on the bike” bowling which saw the inlanders struggle for early runs.
His team mates followed his lead with fellow Forster fellas, Rick Clarke, Wayne Turner and Tim Bramble also bowling tight spells, supported by Manning identity Mike Steinmetz’s accurate arrows.
The Tamworth terror was controlled to a par score of 5 for 97 off the first 20 overs on the small, made for vets, parkland.
The coastal invitation squad then had their crack at some “whacking away winter” and, with younger yokel Andrew O’Brien, holding the innings together as a few wickets fell to the foe, Taree’s massive hitting Graham Thorley helped the locals lead at the halfway mark - 5 down for 107.
The second session of 15 overs saw the visitors find form, the boundary and beyond as they stormed to a very respectable 9 for 218.
Amidst the lusty and lofty blows, local teacher Simon “the youngest” Maher, traitoring as requested for the visitors, sent the ball soaring skywards with great hang time.
His former Tenterfield team mate, O’Brien copped a barrage as Tamworth skipper Rowlings bombed the local school fence.
It was not determined if the mid match refreshments contributed in any manner to what eventuated in the country crew’s frenetic, final fifteen overs but the locals held their nerve and readied themselves for the chase.
The social aspect, with everyone having a bowl and a bat and the result of little consequence, was still the main focus but there was a number ahead.
Whilst the winning score was quite distant, a beaut team effort was made to get there.
The Port connection of Hall brothers, Jamie and Greg, aided by a slashing Dom Ashe, led the Coasties to within reach of Tamworth’s total.
Tim Bramble showed a coastal casual, calmness to rack the tally to a victorious 6 for 225.
“The game was the winner” cliche is appropriate, with the important addendums of fun and fellowship, the after match socialising and revelry helping some local establishments top up too.
There was much discussion of ‘this bloke and that bloke would love to have a crack at this’, besides planning for a trip to Tamworth for a rematch under lights.
The event was deemed a success in the immediate aftermath of dealing with aching muscles and various body parts not recently tested in such a manner.
It was a great end to June and a big thank you goes to both squads’ players, partners and family members who travelled and made it a sensational day in seaside sun.
The long term success will be seen down the track as we spring into warmer weather, with the hope more locals will want to dig out their kits from hidden crevices.
Planning for similar matches between regional centres nearby will need more numbers and anyone of near and/or beyond 50 and 60 years young is encouraged to become involved.
Contact newly settled cricket tragic Barry Everingham on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join in.